People

Isabel PedersenDr. Isabel Pedersen, PhD.

Canada Research Chair in Digital Life, Media, and Culture

Founder and Director of Decimal Lab

isabel.pedersen@uoit.ca

Isabel Pedersen is a Canada Research Chair in Digital Life, Media, and Culture and is the founder and director of the Decimal Lab at Ontario Tech University where she also holds a position as an Associate Professor of Communication Studies. In fall 2014, she was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. She is the author of Ready to Wear: A Rhetoric of Wearable Computers and Reality-Shifting Media, which explores how carryable, wearable, and implantable technologies impact the ways that people interact with one another and participate in culture. Her Decimal Lab is funded by a Canadian Foundation for Innovation Grant and she  holds Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grants for her research in embodied media and social robots.

`Dr. Andrea Slane, PhD

Associate Professor, Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Programs

Faculty of Social Science and Humanities

Dr. Andrea Slane joined the Faculty in 2009 as an Associate Professor in the Legal Studies program. Her research focuses on privacy, data protection, and the variety of legal regimes that protect people from both individual and commercial wrongdoing online and over digital devices. She has a substantial body of work on the flow of personal information over digital devices and platforms.  She has also conducted sociological research on the views of professionals who work with victims on online child sexual exploitation, and is currently engaged in a new project examining senior citizens’ views toward new social support technologies such as digital assistants and social robots, and the kinds of protections they feel they need.

Prior to joining Ontario Tech, she was Executive Director of the Centre for Innovation Law and Policy at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. She received her Juris Doctor degree, with honours, from the University of Toronto in 2003, and was called to the Ontario bar in 2004. Dr. Slane practised trademark, copyright, privacy and technology law at a large downtown law firm in Toronto before returning to academia in 2006. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California in San Diego, and worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia from 1995 to 2000.​

Kirstin Ellison - Decimal LabKirstin Ellison

Research Assistant

Kirsten Ellison is a PhD Candidate in Communication and Cultural Studies at the University of Calgary. Her doctoral research examines the discursive construction of imagined futures of agelessness, specifically focusing on anti-aging technology as technologies of self-government. She is currently working in affiliation with Concordia University’s ACT Project and as a graduate associate with the Trent Centre for Aging Studies on a project that looks at wearable devices and the quantification of age. Her work with Dr. Isabel Pedersen at Ontario Tech’s Digital Culture and Media Lab focused on the circulation of mainstream speculative news surrounding the development and promotion of bionic contact lenses as a future device in the realm of wearable technology. Specifically, their research looked at the rhetorical justifications for the public adoption of this device, examining how the discourses of health and transhumanism functioned to mitigate and ultimately prevent any critical discussion surrounding the potential purposes and consequences of its adoption.

Lyuba Encheva

Research Assistant

Lyuba Encheva is a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow with her supervisor Dr. Isabel Pedersen based at Decimal Lab, University of Ontario Institute of Technology. She received her PhD in Communication and Culture from the Joint Graduate Program of Ryerson University and York University with research on the social and political implications of gamification as the use of game design principles in non-game environments. Her current research expands on her doctoral work to scrutinize the rhetorical effects of automatic emotion recognition algorithms using theoretical approaches such as semiotics, rhetorical analysis and content analysis. Some of Dr. Encheva’s recent publications include a book chapter in Trifonova, T. Contemporary Visual Culture and the Sublime (2018), and a paper in Rhetor: Journal of the Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric, Volume 7. Dr. Encheva’s initial investigation into automatic emotion recognition led to the conception of a photo-exhibition entitled “Coding Happiness: A Look into the Algorithmic Construction of Affect” that was curated by Don Snyder and hosted by the School of Image Arts, Ryerson University in October 2018.

Sharon%20Profile%20PhotoSharon Caldwell

Research Assistant – Archivist

Sharon is currently finishing up the Library and Information Technician Program at Algonquin College, with future plans to deepen her knowledge and skills through the pursuit of an MLIS (Masters of Library & Information Science) degree. She has a professional background in social service work and an academic background in Gender Studies through Trent University. Her current career interests are broad and always evolving: reference services, metadata and indexing, community building, digital literacy, and emerging technologies.

She is grateful for the exciting opportunity to contribute to the Fabric of Digital Life archive. Her work has included researching and cataloguing new artifacts, as well as refining and editing keywords.

Her personal interests include writing, researching, petting cats, and lifelong learning.

Jay at VRTOJay Cooper

Research Assistant

Jay is currently a 4th year Communications & Digital Media Studies student at Ontario Tech University. He has been a member of Decimal Lab since 2017, primarily archiving fictional depictions of technologies. While he has a general interest in emerging technology, his main focus is on virtual and augmented reality. Upon graduation, Jay hopes to continue his education by pursuing a master’s degree in digital media.

In his free time, Jay enjoys strategy games and science fiction novels.

JackJack Narine
Research Assistant
Jack is a 3rd year Communications & Digital Media Studies student at Ontario Tech University. He has been a member of Decimal Lab since 2018, mainly researching wearable technology in the health and fitness industry and its effect on the well-being of its users. Once Jack graduates from OTU, he hopes to earn a post-graduate diploma in the public relations field.
His hobbies and interests include reading, playing video games, and watching superhero and science fiction films.

SarahSarah Alward

Research Assistant

Sarah is a 4th year student in Communication and Digital Media Studies at Ontario Tech University. Currently working as a lab coordinator for Decimal Lab, she has gained an ever-changing insight into how technology changes and influences daily interactions. Throughout her schooling career she has been researching topics that not only look at virtual and augmented reality, but also the effect it has on society and the user. To help further explore her interests, she is also pursuing a minor in Forensic Psychology.